As some of my readers already know I am right now, this very moment, in flight to CA to attend the Integrative Practitioner’s Conference titled, “Taking the Chronic our of Pain” and I am looking forward to learning new methods and about new products to extend the reach of my practice and ways I can help my clients.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I have watched a movie and am now settling into my business day with in flight Wi-Fi. It seems like my life is traveling faster than the speed of this plane right now!
We experienced some turbulence earlier in the flight which caused me great distress (I’m not the most confident flyer). Irrational thoughts about crashing and dying in a ball of flames were creeping into my mind as well as irrational fears of never feeling my husband’s arms around me again or seeing my family and friends. I knew there was one thing I could do to change my state, control my thoughts, and bring myself to a more relaxed place where the irrational thoughts and fears would subside. To get to this place I began to meditate.
Luckily I have several guided meditations downloaded onto my iPod. I pulled up a random one, shut my eyes, and surrendered myself to the instruction given by a soothing women’s voice while concentrating on my breath and trying my best to ignore the turbulence getting even worse around me. I confess, when some of the bumps got really big I opened my eyes and lost my place in the meditative journey, but, but after 7-10 minutes I was completely engrossed in my meditative practice, my breathing had slowed and I was safe in my mind in a place where I felt comforted and cared for. The best part was I was the one caring for myself!
Meditative practice has helped me transform my relationship with fear and stress in my life overall and it is a “go to” tool for me during times when I experience unusually high levels of fear and stress just as I did a little while ago during the turbulence.
There are no rules about how to meditate. For some, meditative practice in a 2-3 minute guided mini break sitting at their desks mid-morning or mid-afternoon. For others, it is a 20 minute deeper meditative practice first thing in the morning and last thing before bedtime. It can be guided (as I just utilized in my practice moments ago) or it can be silently concentrating on your breath while repeating a mantra quietly in your mind. There are other varieties as well including walking meditation, primordial sound meditation, even writing “morning pages” I consider as solid meditative practice.
Meditation is not a religion; rather, it is a practice of becoming passively aware of your thoughts and feelings, quieting the mind, and bringing your body back into a place of balance. Meditative practice helps you become MINDFUL and therefore supports your ability to pay attention to what you eat, cooking healthy meals, the chemicals you expose yourself to, getting enough sleep, making time for exercise etc… As a direct result, you will have an easier time reaching your goals to lose weight, prevent heart disease, control diabetes, and maintain your general wellness.
Most of us will say, “I don’t have time to meditate”, however, given the benefits why wouldn’t you want to at least try it out? Make a commitment to do it for three days and see if you can extend it to one whole week…then a month…then a year…then a lifetime.
Tips for Setting the Meditation Mood
• Pick a regular time you can commit to every day. Make a recurring “me time” appointment on your calendar.
• Set the timer on your phone so you will not look at the clock. Start with five minutes and build up to 20.
• Find a quiet place and get comfortable.
• Turn the lights down and light a candle.
• Take a whiff of lavender or your favorite essential oil.
• Spend the first few minutes concentrating on your breath, in and out, in and out, and as thoughts enter your mind gently cast them aside and return to your breath.
• Another option is to choose a mantra and repeat. In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” means “mind vehicle.” A mantra is just a short phrase that has no distinct meaning, to help keep your mind free of thoughts. A popular universal mantra is “SO HUM.” On the inhalation, say the word “SO” silently to yourself, and on the exhalation, say the word “HUM.” When you find your mind wandering, come back to repeating your mantra.
• Pop in a guided meditation if that suits you better. Some people find it easier when they first start meditating to use the guided meditations.
Here are a couple sites I like where you can learn a bit more about developing your own meditation practice: